tv [untitled] December 15, 2011 3:30am-4:00am PST
consider the following list of ideas which i have cryptically penned for this testimony. i have noticed that time has gone over, and i know how that feels, so i would just read one or two of them and make my testimony available in writing. the one that i would like to read which may add to what the professor had to say is, i think the city and county needs to form an urgent advisory committee and instruct a point person to work with our congressional representatives and senators to include promotion. that's send citizens to washington d.c. -- washington, d.c. they really do want to hear from us. i have another list of ideas that i would like to present to you. i will not take your time now. so my respectful and more urgent
request, if you could get to make and use them to get a phone call as soon as possible to rep gutierrez's office and senator schumer's office to tell them how important it is to have comprehensive reform here and that it must include our gay and bi-national couples. we need to ensure he receives the message from san francisco this week or it might be too late, that lgbt families matter equally and there is no comprehensive immigration reform until we are all included. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. it takes a lot of courage to share your experiences and put a human face on the immigration issue, so you are an inspiration to us. to our panelists, we are going to shorten the questions because i want to be sensitive to you want to speak. the commission has asked that we set aside public speaking time. to our panelists, after hearing the testimony from the individuals that are here tonight, which put to the human face on cir, what strikes you the most about what you have heard, and under cir, how can negative practices, including criminal conviction, be dealt with differently? i will start with mary.
>> thank you. i thought all this testimony from the community speakers was incredibly moving and shows a wide range of issues that really has to be addressed. i guess i slipped into my pragmatic mode at some point and try to figure out what the calculation is, basically in terms of what the market will bear. it is clear, political pressure from around the country is often what helps to determine that, but we can also tell by watching how things develop, that there are forces impinging on what will actually get accomplished. i think the critical thing is to remember there are two ways that
we can influence what the government does. there is the legislative, cir approach, and there is the administrative reform. some of which does not require legislation. some of the stories we were hearing, particularly from the business perspective, is about changing the way people do business, in terms of the government, changing the way we think about the relationships that exist. a lot of that can be done by pressuring the government to be more open, more transparent, treat people with decency and respect. that goes a long way. it is like the doctor who does not get to for malpractice, does something wrong, but takes the time to explain things.
on the broader cir perspective, one thing that we have to be aware of is, right now there is nothing on paper. we anticipate congressmen gutierrez will introduce a bill in the beginning of december. i know they have been working hard to figure out the component parts, but adds cindy said, congresswoman lofgren's staff is ready to put the pieces together. i cannot tell you what his bill will look like, what senator schumer's bill will look like. what i can say it is all those pieces work together to ultimately come up with something that is hopefully, at least, something that we can create a foundation from. comprehensive immigration reform
has to be broad enough to make -- give us the foundation to build more, but i do not think it will be done at that point. there will be a lot of issues that will not happen in the first go round that will need to be perfected, but me to do enough to turn immigration into something that is not so politicized and is more about really getting down to the problems. i wanted to address briefly some by pointing out, you cannot always tell what will happen based on one set of votes. in the dhhs appropriations bill for 2010, in the senate, and there were a lot of horrible amendments to make e-verify mandatory, inshore every inch
of the fence was real, we get ensure every inch of the fence was real, not virtual. -- ensure every inch of the fence was real, not virtual. a lot of people said, my goodness, the senate is horrible, we are not going to get anything. we kept trying to calm people down, saying, wait for conference. that is a big step. you cannot just look at a bill and say that is it. there are all kinds of steps going on. if what you care about is not in the basic bill, it does not mean that it is over. that means you work to find the champion to will advance your cause.
at this point, rather than focus on the specifics that need to be in the bill, the important thing is focusing on the fact that congress needs to do it, and the rest will naturally follow if we have the political pressure to get the different parts that people care about in. >> bill, you gave us a reality check earlier about what we can expect in a cir bill. what needs to happen, what is likely to happen before a bill is authored? what compromises to you think will be made? >> mary and i are friends, but let me respond to her because i think she was responding to me. [laughter] , to believe, mary, that things will be resolved in conference -- i want to believe, mary that things will be resolved in
conference. maybe because i am older than mary, i remember what happened with the 1990 and 1996 legislation where bad stuff remained in the bill. but i will defer to marry in terms of -- yes, if there is bad language, you try to influence the conference. let me go to a different point. first of all, the dream act and uafa, we have to fight hard for that. one thing that we'v need to do s pressure the administration. they have the responsibility, too, and it is being quarterbacked by people in homeland security. we should be talking to them about this.
in terms of family immigration, it is funny. i alluded earlier to 2007 and the awful point system that was proposed. the funny thing is, if you went back one more year to 2006, the mccain-kennedy bill, there were great provisions in terms of family immigration, clearing the backlogs and extra numbers. so it is a shame that senator kennedy has passed away and it is a shame that so has senator mccain. [laughter] neither of those individuals are still there. but we should resurrect the proposals they had in terms of family immigration. it has created huge problems. the backlog of family
immigration has contributed to undocumented immigration, family separation. it is counter to the family values that the nation counts. to me, it is a no-brainer clear the backlog. -- the nation touts. >> cindy, in advising the immigration rights committee, for advising them on cir, who needs to be heard, which forces need to be lifted up? >> i could take professor hing's sarcastic way of looking at it -- just kidding. [laughter] i hope my other congressional colleagues do not kill me about sang this but i think it is important to keep your
congressional office into an with what is important to you. i could not agree more with the two speakers. i think you have to be an optimist to be working on this issue, on this job, but i am with prof. hang in that we are scared with the flip side is. right now we are in the good state. right now nothing is written on paper. i do not know what is going to be on the gutierrez bill but it will not be the only one out there. right now we are talking about all the things that we agree on. we are going to try to focus on those things to see if we can move at first. the point that professor hing made previously about having to admit to a conviction, that is not something that we have signed off on, not something that we have signed off on with immigration committee.
you have to have a bit of wisdom. i have not been around as long as anyone else, but we have seen some pretty horrible things happen when we thought we ever going to do pretty well. i think both of these perspectives should be weighed equally. what we can do at this point is be grateful for our congressional representatives in the bay area but really understand that the bay area is different from the rest of the country, especially on this issue. it is important to wait in -- way-and -- weigh-in. i think also of san francisco has a good way to show that if you have an immigrant rights commission and you are in accenture city, civilization does not end. you actually forage and you get stronger economies. i think that is invaluable. when we were all briefly
speaking about how can we make san francisco happen in the middle of the central valley -- that is the million-dollar question. i do not have that answer. i just know the optimist in me what is working toward that. taking into account the things that we have seen in the past have been unpleasant, when it comes down to paper, but again, we need to look at speak your community. everyone who calls get an appointment. everyone who writes to get a response. we do that in order to know the pulse of our community is, as well as the country. >> so, nellie, as an activist and organizer, what would be your recommendations on how one can really leverage reform?
>> i think you should go to community centers, all the city leaders. how many nationalities to we have here? i see diversity with all of you commissioners, but maybe once of view -- one of the once a week should be going to the schools, churches, community is, talking to real people and getting involved. getting the fear out of immigrants about approaching the government. everyone believes if they go onto the street, claiming they want amnesty, it is going to backfire. they all are already feeling in all the demonstrations and marches that we did four years ago, they have backfired.
we need to prove to them that this is not true. but we need your support and government support. mainstream america has the wrong belief that immigrants are here to take everything away from them. that is not true. we need to get the message that everything -- our immigrants are very positive. thank you. >> panelists, you heard earlier the professor talk about the economic contributions of our immigrant community. with the 2010 census coming up, there is a great deal of fear and intimidation from the immigrant communities. there is even talk about possible boycott. there is an effort to derail the sentence by adding in a question about status. what would your advice be
around the census and overcoming the fear and intimidation of participation? >> we should push them to participate because it is important to be counted. >> information is power. the information policy center could not do its work without the census data. the work that we have done has been able to help document impact of latinos, asians, other immigrant groups in other states, what would happen if those folks were not there. if people do not participate, then all the great work they do, all the ways they contribute to the community are not going to be counted. nellie is right.
it is about proving that these are communities that matter. >> if i could add, i think it is imperative for everyone to participate in the census. the census is constitutionally mandated. it is to get a picture of who our country is, who makes up our country, and that makes everyone. i think the recent proposed amendment in the senate -- which i have to say, and i want to say, it was soundly defeated -- the status requirement was just a way to intimidate. we should not be calling for it. i do not believe in a boycott on the census. the census count determines how many congressional representatives there are. it is used to figure out funding
for counties. sometimes it is our own immigrant communities who really need those resources but are in a weak position to negotiate. i cannot emphasize how important it is to understand that your information given to the census is confidential and there are extra safe marks for the information. there is also big penalties for anyone who inappropriately to full does the information. it is never meant to be handed over to the immigration service. absolutely, the commission should encourage everyone to participate. can you imagine if we got another represented in this area? -- rep in this area? i think we could use it. >> last question. we have heard a couple of suggestions on things the immigrant rights commission could do.
the last question is, your top three suggestions for the immigrants' rights commission to begin preparing for building capacity in the community to assist immigrants, not if, but when cir happens. >> there is a lot of expertise in the bay area when it comes to the last time there was legalization provisions. one, it requires a close partnership with the department of homeland security. there were some good things that erka did. they be located in two different parts of the community, set up offices that were successful. we should work with the homeland security. due out reach to the communities
on the process and procedures. many people did not know what the exact requirements for and how it was -- requirements were and how it was going to be implemented. the third thing i would add is, we have to do our best to reach every community by working with the new community groups that have emerged since 1986, to make sure that each community has access to services. although, nationwide, the vast majority of those undocumented are latino. and california, while the majority is latino, california actually has a much larger percentage of non-latinos that are not documented. íx"r>> i was hoping you were gog
to ask that question. i am not going to repeat the and of reach, but are finding your networks to get to those hard to reach communities. in san jose we have a somali community, so you can throw money and ethnic media like crazy, it is not going to reach them. it is important to know where these hard-hit communities are. having these networks in place and refining them so that they can be a service to everyone. i was proud traumatized by the 1996, 1998 changes, but also by 2000. it was amazing how quickly unscrupulous people got the word out that they had the way to take advantage of provisions. for $500, they would sell you
the form that had not even been by immigration services. i think we need to prepare the community on how someone will screen new and that support those people giving proper screening advice. providing a safe space like you are doing here for people to tell their stories, being that truck to a source of information, and making sure that we are ready for those people who will try to take advantage of our community as they seek to legalize their situation. >> any other suggestions? >> the only other thing i would add it is it is inevitable, there will be some type of english requirement. if we are looking at past bills, some type of english requirement and some type of fund is likely to be there. those are two areas where it
will really affect the ability of a community to fully utilize, as a legalization process, is going to turn on whether or not services are already in place. particularly with fines and application fees, thinking about these folks as an investment in the city's future and trying to determine if there are micro loans or other programs that the commission or city might be able to help sponsor to make it easier for people to be able to take advantage of the law when it is passed is something that you need to start thinking about now. there are good programs at other places have tried, the state of illinois, in particular. >> thank you. you have given us a lot of food for thought.
commissioners, and this concludes the >> thank you, director. thank you penlists and speakers for your testimony. at this stage, we will at the end, if you have questions carb i know one or two might have a question. i will do it after public comment. if i may, i would like at this stage to see if there is anybody in the audience who would like to talk. i have some speaker cards. i will read out your names. i believe, director, two minutes? >> that would be your call. >> i would like to hold our comments to two minutes as our time is restricted here. if you would line up at the mike here. we have arch bishop richardson, amos lynne, natia, and lupe.
thank you. as you are speaking, you can take the mike here, this microphone here. are director? >> i am sorry [inaudible] >> great. if you would pay attention over here, you will get your time pointer from this gentleman over here. when you see 30 seconds, there will be a bill. you can go ahead. you are first up. >> hi. i represent immigration and i apologize for the baby screaming just now. we had to bring her. we spoke earlier on bye national couples.
i am a foreigner, but lucky enough to have a card. we cannot operate like a billings. the only way that i can stay here is by getting my visa, whether a student or work visa. every time you get a visa, you have to leave the country to renew your visa and prove you are going to go back home. every time you leave the country, it is really scary because you have no idea who is interviewing you in the glass window and whether your application will be denied or not. one thing by federal law, it doesn't recognize marriages performed anywhere. i am one of the 18,000 legally married in california, but the gerg doesn't recognize it.
so my husband can't spomsor me for a card. for people who are legally married in california, and if they are on a different kind of virginia, they can become an overstay and can become denied to come back into this country. so it is very important, and i really thank you, the immigrant rights commission, for supporting a resolution to include it into comprehensive immigration reform, and we need to make sure that exrenlsive immigration be truly immigration and includes all families. we should not leave families out. thank you. >> thank you for your comments. >> hi. my name is nadia, and i work for the san francisco human rights commission. the commission investigates cases of discrimination based on a number of categories, one
of which is national origin, whether that is discrimination in housing, public accommodation, that means any business establishment you go to, or employment. we interpret, especially in instances of housing-based discrimination, that immigration status is part of national origin discrimination. we just want to let the forum know about this, and my colleague been talking about the sanctuary city. in addition, on tuesday, november 17 of this month, we are going to be having a forum on issues affecting -- immigration issues affecting l.g.t. immigrants and same-sex bye national couples not being together. we are going to talk about the h.i.v. ban being lifted but cases previously departmented. the one-year